The Opening Day roster for the Burlington Bees is highlighted by four pitchers and an outfielder ranked by Baseball America among the top 30 prospects in the Los Angeles Angels organization.
Three of those pitchers — right-handers Grayson Long, Joe Gatto and Jaime Barria — are ranked among the Angels’ top 10 prospects. BA says Long (No. 6) and Gatto (No. 7) have drawn comparisons to each other — both have above-average fastballs that sit in the low 90s — with Long having a better chance to stick as a starter because he has a better delivery. Barria (No. 9), a Panama native, has a good fastball, but his best pitch reportedly is a changeup anticipated to be above-average. All three pitchers will be making their Midwest League debuts this year.
Adam Hofacket (No. 24), a right-handed reliever, throws a fastball in the low-to-mid-90s and a slider considered above-average. According to BA, he is “an effective strike-thrower who pitches to contact and keeps the ball on the ground. With a four-pitch mix and experience as a starter [for three seasons in college], Hofacket profiles as a long reliever capable of going multiple innings per outing. … [He] could move quickly through the organization.”
The Bees have one position player who is ranked among the Angels’ top 30 prospects. Outfielder Brendon Sanger (No. 15) made his professional debut last year with the rookie-level Orem Owlz, batting .300 with four homers, 20 doubles, 29 RBI and 13 stolen bases in 60 games. Defensively, he plays right field and has an above-average arm.
Infielder Michael Pierson also played for the Orem Owlz last year, and led the Pioneer League with a .395 batting average in 52 games. He hit three home runs, drove in 31 runs, and stole 17 bases.
Another infielder on the Bees roster has a last name familiar to baseball fans: Hutton Moyer, son of former major-leaguer Jaime Moyer. Primarily a second baseman, he batted .241 with four homers and 29 RBI in 35 games with the Orem Owlz.
Only three players on Burlington’s 25-man roster didn’t play for Orem at some point last year. There aren’t many returning players — only right-handed reliever Eric Alonzo, infielder Juan Moreno and outfielder Alex Abbott played for Burlington last year, and outfielder Ranyelmy Alberto played for the Bees in 2014.
You can see the entire Bees roster here.
The Bees are managed by rookie skipper Adam Melhuse this year. You can read about him and his coaching staff here and here.